It’s Diwali time!!!! That means you can eat all the sugar in the world and just blame it on the festive spirit and no one is allowed to judge.
It should be Diwali all year round, don’t you think?
In honour of this utterly beautiful, utterly lit up festival, I tried my hand at nankhatai. Baked biscuits flavoured with dry fruits and a whole load of ghee. Sounds like Diwali to me 🙂
I hunted around a but for a recipe for some sort of baked Diwali sweet. But nankhatais seemed to be the only one with some scope since most of the traditional ones taste the way they do because they’re deep fried!
I cut down and adapted this recipe to make the nankhatai and though I toyed with the idea of using butter instead of ghee, that would just have been shortbread and not very Diwali-esque.
Diwali means ghee 🙂
I had cashews at home but I also had hazelnuts that needed to be finished, so I used those instead for a bit of a twist. The nankhatai I’ve had have always been a little crunchy on the outside and soft and crumbly when you bite into them. Turns out, homemade ones are no different.
The odd thing is, they reminded me a bit of Shrewsburry biscuits! If you’ve lived in or visited Pune, you know what I’m talking about 🙂 Buttery shortbread cookies that are practically a legend.
The taste of the ghee is pretty evident, but in a good way. Unlike butter, it’s flavour is stronger. The nankhatais harden in the oven but the recipe I referred to said it’s best not to let them brown, just like those little nankhatai packets you get in bakeries.
The hazelnuts add a great flavour and I do plan to try the original version with cardamom and cashews. It takes all of 5 minutes to put the dough together, 30 minutes to rest it and another 10 to bake. I even managed to squeeze in a shoot with these pretty diyas 🙂
You can’t do a Diwali shoot in the day. You just can’t.
Since I halved the recipe, I got 4 large nankhatais. If you need just a wee bit, use these proportions, or double them for the original servings. They puff up and spread a bit in the oven.
For those of you, like me, experimenting with Indian mithai for the first time, these nankhatais are a great way to get started 🙂
What you’ll need:
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp ground hazelnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted ghee (I needed a couple of teaspoons extra to bind the dough)
A few chopped hazelnuts to garnish
What to do:
1. Sift the flour and baking soda in a bowl.
2. Add the hazelnuts to the this mixture and stir it all together.
3. In a small bowl, mix the ghee and sugar together till smooth and creamy.
4. Add this to the flour mixture and using your hands, knead it into a soft, smooth dough. Cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 160 C.
6. Shape four rounds from the dough and flatten slightly. Press a piece of hazelnut in the center of each.
7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes but do not let them brown as they might get too hard. Cool before biting into one 🙂
Have a great Diwali you all!